‘I couldn’t ever see myself managing another county to be honest. I couldn’t manage against Kerry, I’d find it very strange.’
Éamonn Fitzmaurice has all but ruled out a return to managing the Kerry senior football squad, and the All-Ireland winning player and manager has also said he could never manage another county football team to play against Kerry.
Speaking with Darragh O’Connor on The Sideline View Podcast Fitzmaurice, when asked about a return to the managerial seat he occupied from 2013 to 2018, said: “You never say never but at the moment it would be a definite no because a thing that Jack (O’Connor) has, and I think he’s mentioned it himself, is the fact that he’s retired from teaching. He has the time to put absolutely everything into it and I think if you’re doing it, that’s the way it has to be. You have to be able to put your whole time into it to do it to the level it needs to be done now. In the short-term it’s not something I could see happening.”
If that sounded like he wanted fully closing the door to a managerial return at some point in the far off future, Fitzmaurice added: “I feel that between playing and being involved as a selector and being involved as a manager, in management alone I was involved for nine years between, I was six years the manager and I was two years a selector with Jack. I was in charge of the under-21s so I feel almost like I’ve done my bit and I really enjoyed it and there’s loads of other lads within the county that are chomping at the bit to get a cut at it as well so I’ll be happy out to support them from the sidelines rather than putting myself in the firing line again.”
After a stellar playing career, Fitzmaurice – having served two years as a senior selector under O’Connor – took over from his old manager in 2013 and delivered an All-Ireland title the following season, 2014, which until last month was Kerry’s most recent All-Ireland SFC title.
The Finuge man, who is still just 44 years old, managed Kerry to the 2015 All-Ireland Final, which they lost to Dublin, and remained in the job until the end of the 2018 season.
O’Connor, between his second term as Kerry manager and his return at the start of this season, managed the Kildare senior footballers for two years, and several other former Kerry footballers – including Mick O’Dwyer, Páidí O Sé, Jack O’Shea, Liam Kearns and Micheal Quirke – have managed other county teams, but that is not a path Fitzmaurice sees himself taking.
“I couldn’t ever see myself managing another county to be honest. I couldn’t manage against Kerry, I’d find it very strange. I think when you’re involved in your own club or your own county, there’s something in you inside in your soul that kind of drives you to another level that maybe if you were involved with a different group you wouldn’t quite have.”